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Unusual perfect tense ending

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Unusual perfect tense ending

Postby Carola » Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:01 pm

The first word in Book II of Virgil's Aenead is "Conticuere". The entry in "Words" is as follows:

conticu.ere V 3 1 PERF ACTIVE IND 3 P
conticesco, conticescere, conticui, - V INTRANS
conticisco, conticiscere, conticui, - V INTRANS
cease to talk, fall silent, lapse into silence; cease to function, become idle

I have not seen this ending used for the 3rd person plural perfect tense before, wouldn't it normally be "conticuerunt"? I almost took it to be the infinitive at first but it is definitely the perfect stem being used (contic..). Is this a common ending, as I can't see it in my textbooks?
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Postby benissimus » Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:02 am

That's a very common alternative for the perfect third person plural -erunt. It is also used in place of passive forms that look like -eris (they become -ere). :shock:
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Carola » Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:25 am

Thanks Benissimus - this is all very confusing! :roll:

I guess the trick here is to look at the stem - if it is perfect then it's not infinitive.
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Postby benissimus » Tue Oct 07, 2003 4:46 am

There is a difference, but it probably isn't going to help you very much :(

In the alternative form, both E's are long.
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Postby MickeyV » Sat Oct 11, 2003 8:16 pm

And remember, there is another alternative form. "Vocaverunt" may therefore be written as "Vocavere" ánd "Vocarunt". I. e.: the "-ve"-part being removed. This omission may be extended to whatever possible form -> vocavero = vocaro, etc.

So, theoretically, "vocaverunt" may be spelled as "vocare" (minus "-ve", "-runt" transformed in "-re", although, clearly, that would cause unnecessary ambiguity.
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Postby benissimus » Sun Oct 12, 2003 1:01 am

Yeah, syncopation is...well...
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